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For Lent, Irish Catholics Urged to Abandon ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’


DUBLIN (CNS) — Alcohol, smoking and chocolates are some of the most well-known vices that people traditionally give up during Lent. But now Massgoers in Ireland are being urged to make what might be an even harder sacrifice throughout the penitential six-week period — switching off their mobile phones. Parishioners in Navan, County Meath, are being urged to “reconnect with their families” in the weeks leading up to Easter by talking to one another rather than texting and browsing online. The “Invitation for Lent 2019” urges churchgoers to “reduce screen time in order to increase family time.” Father Robert McCabe of St. Mary’s Church, Navan, said he hopes parishioners will make a permanent lifestyle change, rather than just putting down their devices during Lent. “Everybody can benefit from spending less time on their phones and laptops and using that time to communicate instead with their families,” he said. “Even members of the clergy are guilty of being on their phones too much, and Pope Francis himself has highlighted this point when he chastised priests and bishops who take pictures with their mobiles during Masses, saying they should lift up their hearts rather than their mobiles.”